Tony MacAlpine

Edge of Insanity

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After Yngwie Malmsteen set the guitar world on fire with his 1984 debut, Rising Force, it was amazing how quickly the clones came out of the woodwork. Within a couple years there were dozens of them, flooding the market with their recorded instrumental extravaganzas. Tony MacAlpine was one of the Yngwie followers, to a certain degree. His debut album, Edge of Insanity, with its all-star rhythm section of Steve Smith and Billy Sheehan (drums and bass, respectively), follows the rough blueprint of Yngwie's model. Soloing over dramatic minor key vamps, MacAlpine catalogs his impressive licks at top speed. But while his chops on the guitar are quite astounding, what is more impressive is that he is equally adept at playing the keyboard. So there's plenty of exciting guitar/keyboard interplay here -- including dueling solo sections and unison or harmonized runs -- that is quite dazzling. Album highlights include the laid-back album closer, "No Place in Time," and MacAlpine's impressive unaccompanied piano performance of Chopin's Prelude 16, Opus 28. The low point is "Quarter to Midnight," a "live solo" that sounds very suspiciously like a studio recording with (rather fake-sounding) crowd noise dubbed in. His second album, Maximum Security, is much better.

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